Free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer is reportedly open to signing with the St. Louis Cardinals.
At the trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals were heavily connected to Max Scherzer. They had a need for an ace. Scherzer, of course, grew up in Missouri and was a Cardinals fan as a kid. Yet they were never a real contender to acquire him since he wanted to play on the west coast.
Now that Scherzer is a free agent, his stance may have changed.
Scherzer “would entertain an offer from the Cardinals,” according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Adding Scherzer, 37, would transform the Cardinals’ rotation and would cement their status as World Series contenders. In 68.1 innings with the Dodgers, the future Hall of Famer posted a 1.98 ERA and 89/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, with his career statline through 14 seasons being a 3.16 ERA with 3020/677 K/BB ratio. Pairing him with Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright atop the rotation would give St. Louis one of the best top-3 arms in baseball — and a unit that could compete with the Brewers’ trio of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta.
That said, a deal that brings Scherzer to St. Louis feels unlikely. Their payroll is currently slightly above $142 million, per Roster Resource, and is about $20 million shy of their 2021 payroll. Signing Scherzer is expected to take $35-40 million per season on a multi-year deal and adding him would mean they would not be able to upgrade at shortstop or add an impact bullpen arm. That’s not to mention that Scherzer comes with risk, as he dealt with a dead arm toward the end of the postseason with the Dodgers.
But the Cardinals are looking for starting pitching and are surely going to consider Scherzer. How could they not, especially since Scherzer is open to playing for them? Ultimately, look for the Cardinals to sign a No. 3 starter, and for the elite right-hander to stay on the west coast on a deal that will likely be the richest for a pitcher in baseball history.